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Another Wheel project

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Alexander Rhodes, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Ok, So once upon I had a Thrustmaster RGT FFB pro clutch, and like with everyone else who had one, it has bit the bullet and died again, and I cannot be bothered to repair it for the 10,000,000th time lol. So, I decided, why not make my own wheel as I now have a FFB motor, gearing and a 270°pot plus 12 buttons to boot!

    But then as I'm pulling the thing apart I get to wondering... Is it possible?

    Things I have;
    All the internals and externals from the original wheel ( I'm pretty sure the mainboard still works),
    A cheap chinese full size sport wheel (£10 ain't bad :D),
    A 1994 peugeot 306 dash cluster,
    A PS2 Joytech Williams F1 replica wheel (no base) ~ willing to integrate this dash If I can't get the 306 dash to work
    Loads of wood,
    Maybe an aluminium plate or 2,
    And too much time that should be spent racing.

    Things I don't have;
    G25 And don't I bloody know it! I got offered the G25 instead of the RGT... I'm such a cheap fool lol.

    So, all thats really needed, are some pointers on how to attach an actual wheel to the RGT's boss-hub, how to make new shift-paddles and a sequential stick (the paddles and stick are so cheap, obviously going to be the next thing to break), where to put the buttons and if I need a new circuit (which I could make and solder) I'd need to know what resisters capacitors microchips etc. that would need to be installed with a circuit diagram.

    And since I'm very much a beginner with PCB's I'd rather not go that route thank you :)
  2. hmm sounds intresting, give us an pic of the hub? :)
  3. Yup, need to see the hub with some measurements pls :)
  4. Well, it's currently in the workshop, I decided on using the real wheel as it is gonna be les effort. I have the backplate made for the wheel, attaching it to the hub isn't going to be difficult, it's an oval-square shaft with 4x 2mm screws to hold the pieces together, the shaft is about 2 inches long, connecting to another inch of axle before the wheel gear - it's about the only thrustmaster piece besides the circuit they don't seem to have scrimped on.

    I'm using a thin steel plate to back the real wheel and going to use some hardwood to space the hub for a comfortable distance otherwise it would have been a bit short.

    I'll have some pics for you a bit later, but I'll apologise in advance, because I'll be using a poor quality phone camera lol.

    The joytech wheel was a serial port connection between the wheel and base (removable), and the circuit is packed so tight I doubt I'd be able to modify the existing circuit, so unless it's already been done and someone has a how-to, it's staying as a display piece lol.
  5. Update time :D

    I don't have the cash available to buy the PCB's and switches needed to refit the joytech wheel, maybe in the future, but right now I'd rather leave it as a display piece than butcher it and do a bad job.

    But on the other hand, the real wheel that I bought for £10 (ebay ftw!) is coming along nicely, earlier I promised pictures and now I'm going to deliver.

    [​IMG] Take one cheap fake-ass wheel from China for £10 :D
    [​IMG] and take one steel plate, and shape it, drill holes etc.
    [​IMG] destroy your old RGT column and grab this bit
    [​IMG] pop it together with the axle shaft, and make sure the gear is a comfortable distance from the wheel.

    As you can see, you the back plate fits nicely, I decided to use the original column as a spacer, saves time routing a piece of wood to fit the square-oval axle shaft. Just a few dilemmas to work out before I can start on the housing (coming soon!)

    I'm not sure how many pictures I can display per post, so I'll upload the fitting together in just a tick.
  6. Ok, part 2.

    The wheel from front looks decent, and no BMW logo thank heavens, Maybe I'll get a Ginetta one :)
    From the side without the wheel, you can see the spacing left for paddles and wires - part of my next dilemma.

    So, the paddles... The originals are too short, and there isn't enough travel space, plus in true Thrustmaster style, they are far too weak to trust making them fit (I'd give them a day at most :D).

    So I need to re-design, and build a fresh set. the buttons and sliders (for the shift and 3rd axis) still fit, but the upper rockers don't. So how do I make upper rockers, and what material would be best for the paddles?

    Materials I have available are hard wood, MDF, steel, and plexiglass. I'm guessing steel may be the best bet as I can't get any aluminium, what do you guys think?

    Part of this dilemma is also the button relocating on the wheel. On the original RGT ( pic here:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thrustmaster-Clutch-Pedal-Racing-Wheel/dp/B000JCF6P8) it has 4 buttons on the right, 4 on the left (configured as a D-pad) and 3 at the bottom (one is firmware controlled to switch the FFB on or off). Trouble is, the board that houses these buttons, also connects to the paddles, making finding a place for them pretty important.

    The board and buttons are not in the right place for me to be able to drill the wheel for them, and if I switch the board upside down and place it above the wheel spokes, I'd have something resembling a 6 spoke wheel lol!

    this is the cuplrit:

    So how do I get around this one?

    Help welcome :)
  7. Wowza, they were big pictures, sorry guys.

    But anyway, a friend donated some perspex so I have been busy cutting some paddles for the new column that is coming. It'll be based around a real hub, so it's gonna be pretty funky.

    I still don't know how I'm going to make a hinge and upper rocker for the paddles to fit in. And I'm still confused about the wheel buttons, I wish I could just move the board, if only lol.

    So anyone got any advice on custom paddles? I have seen plenty of G25 swap-outs searching the net but no real mods or custom made sets yet. The only thing I really need to worry about are the pair for the slider, the slider axis' sit at 90° to the paddle, so I'm hoping my perspex-finework is up to scratch :D.

    But anyways, progress made, even if half the day was spent thinking :p

    More updates tomorrow.
  8. Looking good :)

    Keep the pics and details coming, its shaping up to be a nice project!
  9. Mini-update


    Here are the shifters I made, the axle will be made from on RC car aerial, and fixed to small steel plates and fixed to the end of these, so no troubles there.

    I have a new wood + perspex column in the making (might take a few days though) to replace the plastic one, the axle will slide through this to hinge the paddles, looks like I'm getting there :D.

    As for the wheel buttons, I still need help, I'm no pro with PCB's, and don't even know if I'd be able to bypass the board and run the shifter and axis cables straight to the board. As you know I can't just fix the original to the wheel as it's too big, help needed :).
  10. Update:

    Ok, I haven't got very far in the past few days, only worked for a half day yesterday, spent the other half in the casino celebrating another year on my life lol.

    But, the slow progress has mainly been caused by my bad math trying to work out geometries on the paddle movement and any future FFB strength...

    So, in pictures, here is my basic column and backside plate, the paddles and upper rocker, and the hinge design for my paddles which works better than I thought I would (good free swing for shift, and a little tension on the axis paddles).


    Still gotta finish the column, then I can get to putting it together and testing the feel for the first time, the next few days are gonna be exciting :D

    As for electronics, the thrustmaster internals are now going to be only temporary until I can get some Bodnar kit inside, so I might see about by-passing the wheel PCB and hooking up the paddles straight to the main PCB, if it's possible ( I can do without buttons for a while).

    More to come :)
  11. Update:
    Got some pictures of progress for you, not much has been done as I have gone backwards and forwards for the past couple of days. I'm now happy with the feel of the paddles against the switches, and the axles are in the right place.

    So tomorrow I might be able to get the upper rocker and the wheel on... If I can find the right place for the springs :p

    anyways here are some pics:

    As for the wheel-PCB... I've now detached that paddles from it, hopefully I'll be able to get them wired to the pins on the mainboard, I hope the FFB will still work too...
  12. Sorry there hasn't been an update for a while, I've been messing around with templates and math and all sorts trying to get the front of the housing to fit snug and true to the motor and POT plate. I now have it sorted after a lot of wasted plastic and too much time. So it's now onto full steam ahead to get the wheel and column together, the rest of the housing built and everything in and tested.

    Hopefully I might be able to race soon :D
  13. Had a bit of a boo-boo today, a paddle fell off so I've had to re-fit it, which means I won't be racing tomorrow :(

    But! Progress has been made. Not much left to do now, should be plain sailing once the wheel is mounted. Some pic's for you, Note: The buttons don't work yet as I don't have any switches atm, hope to get some soon.


    Kind of hoping this might become a how-to tut now, if only there were FFB compatible wheel+joystick controllers on the market, I'd have thought Leo Bodnar would be selling one by now :/
  14. Coming on well! :)
  15. more updates :D

    Wheel is getting close now, left to do
    Finish the housing
    solder the wires
    Find and fit micro switches + solder to the wheel pcb

    Nice short list :D maybe I'll get to testing next weekend. For now though, heres how she looks.


    The springs feel good as they are now, I might put some stops in for the gear paddles though, not much feel on them as they are. The sliders feel awesome though, doubt I'll swap them out till I get an aluminium column and some FFB sliders :p
  16. Great mod...
  17. Ok guys, got some switches. Most expensive part of the build so far, £6.80 lol!

    I have a question though. I bought 11 SPDT (on)-off switches to replace the original PCB mounted ones, but one of them was a little special, it has an LED on it :D. My question to you is: How can I wire the switch so that the button operates as normal, but the LED stays on with 1 push (button (on)-off), then goes off with the next push (button (on)-off).

    I'm wanting to do this without a 555 if possible, as I don't have cash to spare. It will be the button used for pit-lane speed limiter, and therefore lights up when I activate the limiter, and turns off when I deactivate it. rFactor, LFs and many other games will only recognize a button press once the button returns to off, which means the LED would turn off too if I wired it up to the + and - of the switch.

    The button in question has 6 pins ( 2 -, 4 +, 1 LED -, 1 LED +and is designed as below:

    - ---/--- +
    - ---/--- +

    --- :Wire
    + : Positive
    - : Negative
    [LED]: LED

    EDIT: before anyone asks :p http://uk.farnell.com/multicomp/tll-62bg/switch-tact-green-led/dp/4307343

    Thats the link to the switch described.
  18. Thread revival! lol, not got far in the past week or 2, I have been working some mad hours and short of parts. Payday is on Monday though, so I'm hoping to finish the soldering and have the missing components at the start of the week, which means by Tuesday I'll be testing the prototype...

    As I say, prototype :p I'm thinking of using this model as a base to test out a few ideas while I get my hands on good quality materials and components. Maybe I'll even be able to produce something more realistic in feel and get it out there for people to try, although the things I have planned are going to take a long time to get right, as it means delving into IC's and PCB's, which I don't know too much about just yet.

    All I can confirm for now, is that the paddles are going to feel 100% real with a formula style paddle and clutch systems, and a GT version which will feel clunky and closer to the GT2 paddle boxes. And that I'm going to attempt to address some niggles on current FFB outputs.... watch this space :D